APPS, OCOS Demand to Be Heard on Selection of Board Members

December 7, 2020

Dear Mayor Kenney,

On behalf of the members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools and the member organizations of the Our City, Our Schools Coalition, we are writing to ask that the community no longer be shut out of the selection process for the three current Board of Education vacancies. 
The Nominating Panel you appointed has held no public meetings and has none scheduled. The Panel’s 22-minute remote event of November 17 included no opportunity for hearing public testimony.  The public has been denied any knowledge of who has applied and how the Panel is weighing those applications.  

At this time, we are asking:  that all applications for this public position be released to the public; that you delay the December 15 deadline for the Panel’s submission of their recommended candidates to your office; that you direct the Panel to conduct all deliberations in public; that you direct the Panel to include interactive public testimony at its next public convening. 

Click here to read the rest of the letter.

Eyes on the Board of Education: December 10, 2020

by Karel Kilimnik 

Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela

This December edition of Eyes brings the deja vu that comes with seeing the same business interests circle back. Of this month’s twenty-seven Action Items, almost half are for contract extensions or  amendments–and for whose benefit?   We see the expansion of grants from non-profits  and the perennial flow of money to Relay GSE  “to  build a quality teacher pipeline” (Item 14). Former Board member Chris McGinley referred to the organization as “the Relay Fake Graduate School of Education.” 

The Hite administration now wants to add a fourth partner to their Teaching Fellows cohort of Temple and Drexel (neither of whom will  be paying PILOTS nor making a substantial donation as Penn just did) and Relay.   

At a time when life-and-death decisions are being made about whether to send students and staff back into buildings, transparency becomes even more important. But it is still  hard to find crucial information, one example being the inadequate Item descriptions.  Last week, Chief Financial Uri Monson described the District’s financial picture as “fluid”. What happened to the Board’s promise of only considering “essential” business? Why is basic charter reform still not on the table–but layoffs and school closings are?  

Click here to continue reading.

Board of Education Joint Committee: December 3, 2020

by Lynda Rubin

Only a few months ago, Board members discussed the possibility of closing more neighborhood schools in response to the projected budget crisis. Now they are considering layoffs and furloughs of teachers and support staff.  Their promise earlier this year only to approve essential contracts quickly went by the wayside. Their scheduling of a special Policy Committee meeting, billed as a first step in reassessing the 10-year old Renaissance charter initiative, didn’t even broach the subject of reform; its purpose apparently was to reassure charter operators that the public trough would remain filled. 

Continue reading here.

Defenders of Public Education Speak before the BOE, November 19, 2020

Click on the title to read the transcript of the speaker’s testimony.

School Reform Commission (SRC) Traditions, FYI by Barbara McDowdall Dowdall

The Board Must Stop Paying Lip Service to Equity by Lisa Haver

Expand the Student & Family Support Centers by Kristin Lubbert

Virtual Learning Updates Requested by Dr. Cheri Micheau

The Failed Mission of Renaissance Schools by Diane Payne

Follow the Sunshine Act by Ilene Poses

Removing Renaissance Charter Language is Dangerous to District by Lynda Rubin